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August 18, 2008 

NBA Applies to OFAC for License Relating to Iranian Basketball Player

Given the number of sports-related licenses being requested lately, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) may have to set up a special sports licensing office.

Yahoo! Sports reports that "as interest has grown in the NBA over signing 7-foot-2 Iranian Olympian Hamed Ehadadi [also spelled Hadadi], the league office has sent a letter to its 30 teams instructing that they are forbidden to even discuss a contract with Ehadadi." The story indicates that the NBA has submitted a license application to OFAC that, “if granted . . . would allow teams to negotiate with the 23-year-old Ehadadi. Until then, no franchise is allowed to do so."

The story notes that "after going unselected in the 2004 NBA draft, Ehadadi became a free agent eligible to sign with any team. He has played with several clubs in the Iranian professional league, including Peyakan and Sanam. Ehadadi gathered some favorable reviews among several NBA scouts for his play with Iran in the summer league."

Several major league teams have previously obtained licenses from OFAC authorizing the teams to negotiate with and sign baseball players from Cuba.

In April 2003, OFAC imposed a $75,000 civil penalty on the New York Yankees for violating the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.

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